M: I’m Monica from Kansas City, Missouri and my website is moknowshair.com.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: I’ve been natural off and on throughout life…I’d just relax my hair when I would cut it into short styles. The last time I cut my hair off was in 2008 to get rid of some permanent color. After that, I relaxed one more time then decided to grow it out, naturally, in 2009. I love my natural texture, especially since now there are products that make it easier to style…in the 90’s there was nothing for “our” hair, so being natural was hard, and I never stuck with it.
How would you describe your texture?
M: I have type 3A hair, medium porosity, fine width and high density.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
M: My go‐to style is the wash‐n‐go. I use Trader Joe’s Shampoo and Conditioner, ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer, Mixed Chicks Leave‐In Conditioner and Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect oil. To get maximum volume and defined curls, I use a ceramic blow dryer with a diffuser attachment. If I want to wear protective styles, I will do a blow out by letting my hair air‐dry or by sitting under a hooded dryer, then use my blow dryer to stretch my hair. For this I like to layer heat protectants such as ApHogee Restructurizer, Crème of Nature Perfect 7 and Dr. Miracle’s Curl Friendly Blow Out Foam. I use Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect while blow drying. If I want to wear my hair silky straight, I do a traditional roller set under the dryer, then use my FHI Ceramic Flat Iron to style. When I do this style, I like to use Scruples Sulfate‐Free Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner along with Motions Styling Foam and Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect to finish.
What does wash day look like for you?
M: Wash day almost always includes me using Trader Joe’s Shampoo and Conditioner to start. It’s such a wonderful, natural product and the price point is amazingly low. I always deep condition in a plastic cap for 45 minutes, or under a hooded dryer for 20. Then I decide on either a wash‐n‐go or blow out. If I just had a blowout or straight style, I will do a protein treatment to restore my hair fully. I also do a homemade hot oil treatment every 4–6 weeks.
Describe your favorite go‐to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
M: My wash‐n‐go lasts for days! I can pin‐up the sides, twist sections to the back, do a side pineapple with a scarf, or pull it into a big, curly ponytail. I can get about a week out of a wash‐n‐go by wearing it down the first 3–4 days and then styling the other 3–4 days. I love it!
How do you combat shrinkage?
M: I don’t have shrinkage; my hair actually pulls almost straight when wet. My goal in curly styling is to draw my hair up into defined, wavy curls. Diffusing with Mixed Chicks Leave‐In Conditioner helps me do that flawlessly every time.
Tell us about your hair color?
M: I have never been a red head before, so I figured I’d try it! And I love it! I used Ion’s Ammonia‐Free Demi‐Permanent in Light Burgundy Blonde with Volume 10 Developer. Because my natural hair color is a medium brown, higher volume lift and bleach weren’t necessary to achieve this color. Also, I have medium porosity making it relatively easy to absorb chemical and product. I have not experienced any damage or change in curl pattern. I attribute this to the product being ammonia‐free.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
M: I wouldn’t say I have any problem areas, but I do always make sure to keep my edges moisturized with jojoba oil and I always tie my hair up at night and when I workout to prevent unnecessary rubbing or pull.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
M: 1. I do always deep condition to make sure my hair is soft and moisturized. 2. I do trim my ends every three months (or check to see if I need trimming) to make sure I don’t have split ends.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
M: 1. I do not co‐wash. I’ve tried it a few times, but I never get the same results I get with regular shampooing every 5–7 days. My scalp is naturally oily; I need a cleansing shampoo to remove build up. 2. I do not use heavy, holding custards for twists, bunning or bantu knots because they cause my hair to be too heavy and the strands just clump together, so I don’t have the body and volume I prefer. Instead, I use light butters and puddings for those styles.